Home' Northern Outlook : January 5th 2013 Contents 9
NORTHERN OUTLOOK, JANUARY 5, 2013
books you don't want to miss
By Daniel O'Malley
Reviewed by Steve Walker
IF YOU like your fiction supernatural, ac-
tion-packed and surreal, this whimsical jaunt
will certainly appeal. If -- like me -- you don't, it
will frustrate and annoy, with only the
occasional witty spark to amuse you.
Take your pick.
In a sort of Dan Brown slugs it
out with Douglas Adams battle for
supremacy, Daniel O'Malley has cre-
ated an adult fantasy cum conspiracy
thriller set in a recognisable London of
the near future, where a secret society
of the protectors of Britain (sort of
Freemasons with attitude and super-
natural powers) fight with dark, alien
forces with a speciality in foul slime.
The result, predictably, is an awful
lot of disgusting mess and a high count
of bodies done away with in all manner of repul-
sively imaginative ways.
O'Malley's opening is a brilliantly intriguing
seduction of the reader.
Myfanwy Thomas (just go with the name), an
amnesiac Doctor Who in a skirt, wakes up in a
London park, surrounded by bodies all wearing
latex gloves. She has no memory and must piece
back together who she is, what has happened and
who did it. Someone high in her organisation, the
Checquy, has it in for her -- but who? Myfanwy
treads carefully through the slime to find out.
The Rook is O'Malley's debut novel.
Time magazine placed it at #2 in its list of books
to watch out for in 2012. It is hard to
The trouble with whimsy is that
it can all too quickly cloy. O'Malley's
language can amuse with its bathetic
descents into triviality, such as the
necklace that can "bludgeon someone
to death over the canapes". At other
times, it is just twee -- who uses words
like "twit", "goody" and "groovy" any
When characters have quadruple
embodiments or more limbs than a
flailing octopus, then characterisation
is the first victim.
In effect, there is only one character in this
sprawling tale; the rest are mere opportunities for
surreal fantasy. My main gripe is the lack of vari-
ety. At more than 480 pages, this epic slimathon
is constant battle after battle. Very little descrip-
tion is provided to flesh out these titanic struggles.
Slicing the London slime
Out of the
By Glen Duncan Text $37
Reviewed by Gail Selkirk
Talulla Rising is the second book
in the werewolf trilogy from author
Glen Duncan, following on from
2011's The Last Werewolf, and I
liked it from the beginning.
Werewolves are all but extinct.
Mostly thanks to a government
organisation called WOCOP, hell-
bent on eradicating them over the
Then there are the vampires, who
just want the werewolf blood since,
rumour has it, it will enable them to
walk in sunlight.
We first met Talulla Demetriou as
Jake Marlowe's love in the The Last
This begins after his demise and
Talulla is, against all odds, alive,
pregnant and on the run from
both WOCOP and vampires. Her
very well be
the salvation of
of Alaska, and
full moon sets
off both her
"change" into a hairy nine-foot-tall
werewolf and a premature labour.
Wouldn't you know it, vampires turn
up just as she gives birth and, while
she is helpless, they kidnap her son.
With time against her, Talulla
sets out to get him back, not allow-
ing herself to really "feel" for the
child in case he is dead, but instinct
spurs her on to go after him.
She hooks up with a group of
rogue WOCOP people out there on
their own agenda. This throws her
into situations that test her survival
instincts and determination to be
reunited with her son or, at the very
least, will allow her to take revenge
if her son has been killed by the
Will her blood or the blood of her
son allow the vampires to "walk in
the daylight"? Will it aid the resur-
rection of the oldest known vampire?
She has until the next full moon
to find her son alive and destroy
those who robbed her of the first few
weeks of his life.
Talulla is a modern-day mum;
she also a werewolf who devours
humans once a month, and she is
doing more than the usual battle-
Is this a lone man in wolf's clothing?
By Jodi Picoult
Allen & Unwin $39.99
Reviewed by Miriyana Alexander
An unhappy realisation is dawning. I
might be going off Jodi Picoult.
I've been a fan a while: I counted
and my bookshelves contain 10 of her
novels. But the uncomfortable feel-
ing started when I read last year's
release, Sing Me Home, and has only
intensified with Lone Wolf.
Picoult's always been a master at
exploring relationship dynamics, but
lately they've been set against in-
creasingly extreme scenarios.
In Lone Wolf, Luke Warren is an
animal conservationist who becomes
famous after living with a wolf pack
in the Canadian wild.
When he eventually comes home he
has trouble -- surprise, surprise
--reintegrating into everyday life.
When a car crash leaves Luke
in a coma, his estranged family
must decide his fate.
Yes it's a right-to- die de-
bate and Picoult gets to
explore family dynamics
But a man who'd rather be
a wolf ? Really?
This is not
Reviewed by Diana Morrow
Ransome Airways Flight 189 from
London to New York crashes into the
Severn estuary, killing the almost
600 passengers on board.
The plane, an Airbus 380, was a
launched to re-
cover clues from
but Jenny Coo-
per, Severn Vale District Coroner,
begins to ask questions that the
official investigation does not appear
to want answered.
In particular, she needs to find
out why the body of one passenger,
10-year-old Amy Patterson, was
found washed up alongside that of
a lone sailor, whose boat appears
to have been sunk by the stricken
This is a detailed book on airlines,
and also the coroners and how they
Jenny Cooper is an intelligent
protagonist and the scenes in which
she presides over her court are com-
pelling. Probably not recommended
for nervous flyers, or anyone about
to travel by Airbus.
OUT OF THE BLUE
By Joanna Fincham
Allen & Unwin $36.99
Reviewed by Catherine Woulfe
I only read this because I ran out
of books on honeymoon, when we
were hunkered down in an isolated
bach during a weather bomb.
It's a spin-off from the reality
show The Farmer Wants a Wife,
written by a woman who fell in love
on the show and went on to marry
Viewers were not told that Fin-
cham had suffered from bulimia
and depression, and had come out of
a violent relationship. This book is
It's not great writing but it doesn't
pretend to be -- it is Fincham's genu-
ine attempt to help other women in
I'm trying not to be too snarky
because Fincham sounds lovely, and
because hopefully her book will help
others who are doing it tough. I also
enjoyed the snippets aboutw how
the reality show was filmed, even
though I'm pretty sure any really
damning stuff would've been cut.
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